We at HEB Magazine do our best to let the world know exactly what our islands have to offer, and where exactly to find what you're interested in. HEB is printed once a year and thousands of copies are distributed across the Islands.
And the on-line edition - below! - is updated throughout the year with new reports, photographs and information from all across the Islands.
So, just click the download button, or go to our page-turning version, and enjoy learning about the beautiful Scottish Hebrides, and, if you aren’t here already, make sure to plan a visit sometime soon!
By Eilidh Whiteford
The complete dining experience is a delicacy to be savoured and enjoyed at Scarista House in Harris.
A Grade B listed Georgian building, formerly a church manse, with views of the Atlantic Ocean, heather-covered Harris mountains and a three-mile sandy beach on its doorstep, Scarista House has been open as a restaurant and small hotel for 40 years – with current proprietors Tim and Patricia Martin now playing hosts for nearly 20 years.
And the couple have earned a well-respected reputation over the years, not only for the hospitality offered to hotel guests, but for the traditional, high-quality, fresh food delivered in the House restaurant.
The care taken in the sourcing and preparation of Scarista’s food has been recognised by travel publisher and environmentalist Alasdair Sawday as the only Outer Hebridean restaurant to feature in his ‘Eat Slow Britain’ book.
Scarista House is also listed in the Michelin Guide, the Good Food Guide, and as one of The Times newspaper’s Top 10 Best Places to Eat by the Sea in the UK.
Sea trips from Tarbert and Leverburgh are spreading maritime cheer for growing numbers of visitors who enjoy the chances offered by Sea Harris to visit not only St Kilda but also a range of other nearby Islands and sea lochs.
Sea Harris say they provide the fastest, greenest and most comfortable day trip to St Kilda from the Hebrides on their best-in-class vessel: Enchanted Isle - a 16.5 metre Stormforce 1650, custom-built for the day trip by Redbay Boats in Northern Ireland.
Since the middle of last summer, they have also offered shorter sea trips in an 11m fully-enclosed Stormforce RIB, called Pabbay, also built by Redbay.
Company owner Seumas Morrison comes from Harris and set up Sea Harris ten years ago. He has worked the seas around his native island for more than 30 years. He holds a masters certificate to the level of RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore.
By Katie Macleod
When it comes to “doing something different” at university, as the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) prospectus advertises, you’d be hard-pressed to find somewhere more unique to study traditional music than at the Lews Castle College campus on the Isle of Benbecula.
The highly respected HNC Music course is based in Benbecula, and it’s from here that the networked BA Applied Music degree – which can be studied remotely from any UHI campus – is run.
Students can also enrol in the MA in Music and the Environment, which helps musicians learn how to work in creative, entrepreneurial, and environmentally responsible ways within their communities.
“The traditional music courses based in Uist are now in their 18th year,” explains Programme Leader Anna-Wendy Stevenson. “We are very proud of all the hundreds of students that have gone through our courses, and many of our students have gone on to pursue careers in traditional music, performance, teaching, recording, and writing.”
By Fred Silver
When Acair, the Stornoway publishers, brought out their book William MacGillivray, A Hebridean Naturalist’s Journal 1817-18, edited by Dr Robert Ralph, in 1996, it was revolutionary.
Why? After all, it was already more than 175 years old by then. Yet it was one of several recently published works to show how, despite the Islands being, as the saying goes, ‘full of history’ so much of it had been forgotten.
Two centuries after the young man who was to become a pioneer ornithologist of great international significance wrote this journal about a year in south Harris, Acair have republished it in a new edition, with an introduction by the newly established writer James Macdonald Lockhart whose own life and work, including the book Raptor, have been inspired by the Hebrides and by William MacGillivray.
James Macdonald Lockhart’s great-grandfather, Seton Gordon, was a renowned ornithologist, who studied and photographed golden eagles in the Highlands. But Raptor flies in another direction – toward William MacGillivray. James Macdonald Lockhart discovered the overlooked ornithological legend during long days of research in Oxford’s Alexander Library of Ornithology. “There was something about his voice I really warmed to. I felt kinship with him.” At the beginning of Raptor, readers encounter MacGillivray in 1819, aged 23, resembling the poet John Clare: complaining he has “no peace of mind” and about to embark on a walk from Aberdeen to London.
By Katie Macleod
On the Isle of Berneray, neither locals nor visitors will be able to miss the brand new, bright blue Berneray Shop and Bistro, located just a few minutes from the ferry terminal and the causeway linking the island to North Uist.
The newly redesigned and licensed bistro is open year-round for lunches, homemade cakes, and teas and coffees, as well as for evening meals from April to October, while the attached shop is also an off-licence that sells local produce and meats.
Formerly Ardmaree Stores and the Lobster Pot Tearoom, the business was bought over and rebranded at the end of 2017 by Lochmaddy-based Abigail Nicholson and her husband Ruairidh, who – as well as installing a commercial kitchen and new flooring – have transformed the space with a nautical-style design that complements its seafood-filled menu.
Evening bistro-style meals are available from 5.30pm-8.30pm during the high season of April to October, with seafood options like lobster and langoustines supplied by Ruairidh himself, who works as fisherman. “We’re also trying to use local suppliers as much as possible,” explains Abigail, referencing island businesses such as JA Macdonald for fruit and vegetables, Kallin Shellfish for crab meat, Munro Butchers for meat, and Stag and Macleans Bakeries.